wMay 4, 2008

RG Veda

I'm making it my goal to read most of the manga written by CLAMP before delving into their two current series, xxxHolic and Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, as the two contain lots of crossover elements. I'm also doing it because CLAMP has made a pretty large impact in the manga medium, and they have written in many different genres. To see my past posts on CLAMP, I recommend using the tag system to your advantage!

This is the 10-volume breakout series of the manga-making team CLAMP. I've been reading CLAMP titles in a roughly chronological order, so it was pretty jarring to shift from X/1999 to RG Veda, in which the artwork is obviously older, and not as good (CLAMP started making RG Veda in 1989). The heinous male hairstyles and ridiculously broad shoulders make a comeback. Still, it's possible to look past that, and appreciate the intricate clothing and dramatic storyline.

I've been reading CLAMP's X/1999 series for a while now, but I'm going to wait to blog about it, as I only have 4 volumes left to read. Still, the parallels between the plots in RG Veda and X/1999 are striking, in that they are two series with the exact same premise.

Taishakuten, the evil guy, is attempting to gather the "six stars" (people) "that will tear apart the heavens." Yasha, a protagonist, wants to gather the six stars for himself, to put an end to Taishakuten's tyranny. He travels with Ashura, a young boy/girl who is the last of his bloodline (and looks a lot like Chun Hyang, from another CLAMP title). Normally, Ashura is a polite and fierce young boy. Periodically, however, his mind and body are taken over, and he is able to kill ferocious enemies with pure energy. People are constantly following Yasha and Ashura, trying to kill Ashura.

Once the six stars are gathered, one of two things will happen: they will be the flame that incinerates all evil, or they will be the flame that turns the world into a burning hell. (So, yes. The exact same premise as X/1999!)

Yasha travels with Ashura because he is the one who awakened Ashura, despite being told that Ashura would one day kill him. Ashura is genderless, although he is referred to as a "he" in the English version, as the English language has no genderless pronoun. Ashura is constantly blaming himself for the deaths of others, and whining about how everything is his fault.

While it can sometimes be easy to spot phallic symbols in the media, RG Veda is notable in that there seems to be a number of background arches and the like that represent female external genitalia. Also, like X/1999, RG Veda has some female characters whose purpose is to literally be a sheathe for an important sword (sexual metaphor much?). In order for the sword to be born, the women must die.

This series has been made into a 2-part OVA, which I might be willing to try some day because it's short.

This series might be difficult to get your hands on, as I think it's out of print. Many thanks to the Brown County Library, for having all ten volumes!

Wikipedia tells me that Ashura, Ashura-o (evil!Ashura....unfortunately, the English translation does not keep the suffixes, so it's more difficult to keep them apart), and Yasha will appear in one of CLAMP's current series: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle.

Overall: Not recommended for children due to the gore content. I'd rate it as a "meh." The plot is pretty predictable, and I feel like there was supposed to be some sort of plot twist at the end, but if there was, I missed it. It was fun to see how CLAMP started out

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scribbled mystickeeper at 10:00 AM

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